CXChronicles Podcast

How Customer Onboarding Leads To Customer Success & Retention | Richard Convery

June 04, 2024 Adrian Brady-Cesana Season 7 Episode 229
How Customer Onboarding Leads To Customer Success & Retention | Richard Convery
CXChronicles Podcast
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CXChronicles Podcast
How Customer Onboarding Leads To Customer Success & Retention | Richard Convery
Jun 04, 2024 Season 7 Episode 229
Adrian Brady-Cesana

Hey CX Nation,

In this week's episode of The CXChronicles Podcast #229 we  welcomed Richard Convery, Founder & CEO of Ascendr based near London, England. 

Richard is an expert in effective SaaS customer onboarding, a customer success advocate and one of our leading strategic partners here at CXChronicles.

In this episode, Richard and Adrian chat through how he has tackled The Four CX Pillars: Team,  Tools, Process & Feedback and shares tips & best practices that have worked across his own customer focused business leader journey.

**Episode #229 Highlight Reel:**

1. Why spending time in various companies/industries gives you a slight edge
2. Entrepreneurs live in a lonely world, it takes years to build & scale companies
3. How customer onboarding resembles joining a new gym
4. Great CX is strategically mapped out, designed & engineered from the first touch
5. Always put yourself in your customers shoes, listen for the good, bad & ugly
Huge thanks to Richard for coming on The CXChronicles Podcast and featuring his work and efforts in pushing the customer experience & customer success space into the future.

Click here to learn more about Richard Convery

Click here to learn more about Ascendr

If you enjoy The CXChronicles Podcast, stop by your favorite podcast player and leave us a review today.

For our Spotify friends, make sure you are following CXC & leave us a 5 star review so we can find new listeners & members of our community.

For our Apple friends, same deal -- follow CXCP and leave us a review and rating letting folks know why you love our customer focused content.

You know what would be even better?

Go tell one of your friends or teammates about CXC's content,  our strategic partners (Hubspot, Intercom, Zendesk, Forethought AI, Freshworks, TimeToReply & Ascendr) + they can learn more about our CX/CS/RevOps services & please invite them to join the CX Nation!

Are you looking to learn more about the world of Customer Experience, Customer Success & Revenue Operations?

Click here to grab a copy of my book "The Four CX Pillars To Grow Your Business Now" available on Amazon or the CXC website.

For you non-readers, go check out the CXChronicles Youtube channel to see our customer & employee focused video content & short-reel CTAs to improve your CX/CS/RevOps performance today (politely go smash that subscribe button).

Contact us anytime to learn more about CXC at and ask us about how we can help your business & team make customer happiness a habit now!

Reach Out To CXC Today!

Support the Show.

Contact CXChronicles Today

Remember To Make Happiness A Habit!!

Show Notes Transcript

Hey CX Nation,

In this week's episode of The CXChronicles Podcast #229 we  welcomed Richard Convery, Founder & CEO of Ascendr based near London, England. 

Richard is an expert in effective SaaS customer onboarding, a customer success advocate and one of our leading strategic partners here at CXChronicles.

In this episode, Richard and Adrian chat through how he has tackled The Four CX Pillars: Team,  Tools, Process & Feedback and shares tips & best practices that have worked across his own customer focused business leader journey.

**Episode #229 Highlight Reel:**

1. Why spending time in various companies/industries gives you a slight edge
2. Entrepreneurs live in a lonely world, it takes years to build & scale companies
3. How customer onboarding resembles joining a new gym
4. Great CX is strategically mapped out, designed & engineered from the first touch
5. Always put yourself in your customers shoes, listen for the good, bad & ugly
Huge thanks to Richard for coming on The CXChronicles Podcast and featuring his work and efforts in pushing the customer experience & customer success space into the future.

Click here to learn more about Richard Convery

Click here to learn more about Ascendr

If you enjoy The CXChronicles Podcast, stop by your favorite podcast player and leave us a review today.

For our Spotify friends, make sure you are following CXC & leave us a 5 star review so we can find new listeners & members of our community.

For our Apple friends, same deal -- follow CXCP and leave us a review and rating letting folks know why you love our customer focused content.

You know what would be even better?

Go tell one of your friends or teammates about CXC's content,  our strategic partners (Hubspot, Intercom, Zendesk, Forethought AI, Freshworks, TimeToReply & Ascendr) + they can learn more about our CX/CS/RevOps services & please invite them to join the CX Nation!

Are you looking to learn more about the world of Customer Experience, Customer Success & Revenue Operations?

Click here to grab a copy of my book "The Four CX Pillars To Grow Your Business Now" available on Amazon or the CXC website.

For you non-readers, go check out the CXChronicles Youtube channel to see our customer & employee focused video content & short-reel CTAs to improve your CX/CS/RevOps performance today (politely go smash that subscribe button).

Contact us anytime to learn more about CXC at and ask us about how we can help your business & team make customer happiness a habit now!

Reach Out To CXC Today!

Support the Show.

Contact CXChronicles Today

Remember To Make Happiness A Habit!!

CXChronicles Podcast #229 Richard Convery, Founder at Ascendr.mp4

Speaker 1 (00:00:00) - All right, guys, thanks so much for listening to another episode of the CXChronicles podcast. I'm your host, Adrian Brady-Cesana. I'm super excited for today's show, guys. We have a good friend of mine here on the show today. 

Speaker 1 (00:00:16) - Someone that I've worked with for the last several years is one of our primary strategic partners at CXChronicles, and he's the founder of a super cool company out of the UK, Ascendr, where they are literally helping with a huge problem that every one of us knows about, effective customer onboarding, right, and getting customers set up and teed up for success. So, Richard Convery, welcome to the CXChronicles podcast, my friend. 

Speaker 2 (00:00:40) - Thanks for having me. It's nice to be having a chat with you, but slightly differently, you know, normally it's a bit more operational, but let's see how this goes. 

Speaker 1 (00:00:49) - Well, okay, so, Richard and I are on the phone basically daily or every other day, so, and a couple weeks ago, I was like, Rich, we got to get some of the stuff that you're doing with your clients via Ascendr on the show. We got to talk about the awesome stuff you're doing. So, I agree with you. It's a different type of chat than we normally have, but I'm pumped, man. I'm pumped to get into it, and I'm pumped, frankly, to highlight what you and your team and Ascendr have built. 

Speaker 1 (00:01:12) - And then, frankly, I'm excited to get into some of the stuff that me and you are already working on every day, which is like customer onboarding, customer project management, CTA management, right? Guys, we talk about it all the time in the show, but one of the hardest parts of being a customer focused business leader, it's keeping all the things to do organized and prioritized and visualized and just in a clear, usable fashion. So, anyway, I'm pumped to have you on, brother. Let's start off today, shall we? Let's start off all these episodes. 

Speaker 1 (00:01:42) - Spend a few minutes, man. Rich, I want to, number one, before we even get into Ascendr, stepping stones question. What got you into the space? What got you into wanting to work with customers, wanting to get into the customer experience side of the business? 

Speaker 2 (00:01:55) - I kind of fell into it, really. I've been in this space for coming up to 15 years now. I started off in finance, and I never wanted to be like the finance guy through and through. Didn't really have the passion for it, but it's really, really good to know your numbers. So, we're talking, you know, a long time ago, I sent my CV, my resume out to all the celebrity entrepreneurs, I could think of. I was like, I just want to learn from you. 

Speaker 3 (00:02:24) - I want to know the world about you. 

Speaker 2 (00:02:25) - I want to know the world of business. And, you know, one of them was looking for an executive assistant. And I was like, okay, cool. Let's do it. And that's kind of like opening into the world of entrepreneurship. And whilst working with them, this was somebody from the Red Letter Days, sorry, from the Dragon's Den, Rachel Alamore from Red Letter Days. 

Speaker 1 (00:02:44) - Wait, Rich, for American listeners, give them a 30 second on the Dragon's Den, just so that they know. 

Speaker 2 (00:02:50) - The Dragon's Den, it was Shark Tank is what it is. It's like the British version of Shark Tank. And I can't, I don't know whether Shark Tank came first or Dragon's Den came first, but it's essentially the same thing, right? So, it was one of the dragons, one of the sharks on there. And when I was working with her, she was doing some work with an ERP company, a SaaS provider. And so, I kind of fell into working with these guys, and it was great. I loved it. And so, since then, I kind of found my passion for working with customers in the software world. 

Speaker 2 (00:03:26) - I've done support, like everything from support, onboarding, implementation, sales, customer success. I've taught myself a little bit of development through going on Codecademy, because I think it's really good to have a good understanding of the technology, even if I don't want to be a full stack developer myself. But yeah, I've kind of done like a lot in this space. And whilst talking about what I do now, I really enjoy the customer onboarding piece. I like being in front of people, making friends, helping solve problems. 

Speaker 2 (00:04:00) - And I had some challenges when I was doing onboarding and implementations, and maybe there's a conversation to be had about the difference between onboarding and implementations, right? And so, we started building a product to help solve people with those challenges. And we also do onboarding as a service. So, people kind of drop us in where they've got a new customer, and we do the onboarding for them and hand them back, because that's the bit we enjoy doing. We're really passionate about it. 

Speaker 2 (00:04:29) - So yeah, that's a super quick two-minute roundup of a potted history of my career so far. 

Speaker 1 (00:04:36) - I love it. So, number one, thank you for sharing that, Rich. I think, guys, very similar to me, Rich, there's a strange luxury or strange fortune to being able to have an opportunity of working at... 

Speaker 3 (00:04:48) - Very similar to me, Rich. 

Speaker 1 (00:04:49) - And no disrespect to some of our friends and our listeners, you know, that have been at their company now for 10 years, but there is a strange luxury and fortune to being able to bounce around several businesses focused in maybe different types of industries, different spaces early in your career. Because like, number one, just for what it's worth, and as we both get a little older and wiser, Rich and I were just joking around about upcoming birthdays and how the numbers are creeping up a little bit higher as in the near future. 

Speaker 1 (00:05:17) - But dude, as you age, you realize the earlier in your life or the earlier in your career, you can really kind of expose yourself to many different things, many different focus areas, different types of customer bases, different types of technology. For me, man, different leaderships, leadership styles and executive leadership appetites. The more well-rounded you, I believe you get in my opinion, the more well-rounded you become, but then the more aware you become of all the things that are out there, right? 

Speaker 1 (00:05:47) - And I think from a customer experience perspective, and as I've gotten to know you very well, Sir, like it's a game changer when you've worked with a bunch of different types of customers and users, because then frankly, every time you pop into a new business it doesn't matter what it is. I don't even care what type of product or service or industry space they're in. 

Speaker 1 (00:06:06) - Your ability to immediately detect trends, themes, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, oftentimes guys, and I know we talked about this on the show, I'd be like, nothing is wrong with working for the same employer for a very long time, but insularity does creep in if your employer isn't paying for you on an annual basis to go to conferences, to go to masterclasses, to go to different leadership workshops. Like, unless they're doing that, it's kind of hard to learn, right? You might know everything about your business. 

Speaker 1 (00:06:35) - You might know everything about your customers. You might know everything, but like, so anyway, Rich, I love that you had that type of background where you got to see a bunch of different things. 

Speaker 1 (00:06:43) - With Ascendr, let's pick up on this and we can kind of dive into the first pillar, but I'd love for you to kind of get the eye level in terms of how you've gone about kind of building you and your team at Ascendr, number one, and then give us a sense for how Ascendr kind of bakes in or connects to some of your clients' teams that you're working with to help them. Spend a few minutes just kind of talking with that first pillar of Team Rich. 

Speaker 2 (00:07:09) - Yeah, I'll actually start off with why we're doing this, right, and a little bit of a story as to what's kind of got us to this point. So what I'm doing, when I was doing the implement myself and I was working with a customer, we get to the point where the sales have sold 100, 200, $300,000 worth of software, and day one, you get on a call with them and you go, here's a spreadsheet showing this is what's coming up. And you're like, it just doesn't, it didn't bring up for me. 

Speaker 2 (00:07:44) - Like I wanted to kind of continue that professional image because you've got everything's well branded and polished from the marketing, from the sales, from the website perspective, and then you're down to like the generic tools. So what I wanted to be able to do is have this professional appearance, maintain that professional appearance. I wanted the customer to be able to be kind of informed at all times. And I needed to be able to like assign things to them as well. 

Speaker 2 (00:08:13) - Because when either it's onboarding or implementation, it's not the vendor doing all the heavy lifting. The customer's got to do their things as well, right? They've got to provide you data. They've got to answer questions about the business flows and configuration options. So that's kind of how we kind of got to this stage. Well, to the idea stage. And then a few years ago, got to the point where like, okay, well, let's start solving the problem whilst we're in the weeds. So we actually started off myself and a co-founder. He is a developer. 

Speaker 2 (00:08:47) - So he was building stuff out and kind of built out to like prototype phase. And you know what the world of entrepreneurship is like, it's never completely smooth sailing and things change. So my original co-founder, actually he went and got a job somewhere else. He didn't want to kind of do it anymore. So I was like, oh man, I've got no development resource. Like I'm relatively, especially compared to like a lot of commercial people, but I'm certainly not a full stack developer. So we raised a little bit of money to kind of help us continuing forwards. 

Speaker 2 (00:09:24) - And we've outsourced development to an amazing company. And we fully intend to continue with them for the foreseeable future. It's also a good way where I'm not, But it's also a good way where I'm not...

Speaker 2 (00:09:38) - I don't have the overhead- the administrative overhead as well- of managing a team. Like that's kind of outsourced, and I can just dump my ideas of how we're solving these problems over to these guys and be like: right, I designed this, this is new module, there's new features and can you build it out for me. But other than that, you know, we only launched the product properly back in February and so right now we're a very small operation with big dreams to solve these problems for a lot of companies. 

Speaker 2 (00:10:10) - I know a lot of companies have these onboarding issues and so, like I'm wearing many hats. So at the beginning of the year, going back to your point about learning and education, like I'm a big advocate, you know, in new things and learning new skills, putting yourself into different environments that are difficult for you, because you've got to learn, you've got to adapt. I think it does make you more all rounded, totally. 

Speaker 2 (00:10:37) - So beginning of the year, I was like I've never done outbound, I've never done like that top of funnel, you know, trying to find stuff from scratch. I did a little bit of training on it and I kind of learned about the different channels you've got like SEO, PR, pay-per-click stuff, like digital advertising and then it was like cold outreach. It's like cold outreach is what it is, and so I'm now trying to find what works for me. 

Speaker 2 (00:11:04) - Go out there and you know how to find customers, but I want to find people that can help, but I also don't want to be like a pain in the ass. Yeah, right, and I think a lot of BDRs can be not intentionally, but that's just the nature of the role. 

Speaker 2 (00:11:21) - So, yeah, and you know, aside from that, I'm kind of building out a partner network of people who can support me, who've got similar goals and dreams, both for their businesses but also for them personally, and I like to surround myself with like-minded people so we can all kind of support each other and grow together and also share not just the wins but the difficult bits as well. Sometimes it's nice to just have a chat with somebody who is having the similar challenges right, just support each other through it. 

Speaker 1 (00:11:55) - So I do completely agree- and this is what's funny, right, like is there's a reason why, when you think about, like, the entrepreneurial population in the world, there's a reason why there's very few people that can actually find success. It's freaking super duper hard. I don't care how smart you are, I don't care how resilient you are, I don't care how connected you are. At the end of the day, you could have every one of those things kind of teed up in a four out of five star category. 

Speaker 1 (00:12:27) - There is still a number of hard to define variables that go into finding fortune. Right right place, right time, right product fit could be right for certain customer segments but not right for the other ones. Technology is changing so freaking fast that if you're building a product or a solution or a service on technology, then you better get ready to have to be up on the code on that every single solitary month. 

Speaker 1 (00:12:51) - And then the last thing is this man, your comment there- and this is part of why you and I become such good friends: man, entrepreneurship is lonely. It's lonely most people. They look at the Hollywood stories, they look at the Jeff Bezos, they look at the Marc Benioff, they look at the Larry Ellison's, they look at the Mark Zuckerberg's, where these people have a soccer stadium of employees doing whatever the hell they need any given day of the week. Right, but two things. 

Speaker 1 (00:13:22) - Number one: it's taken every one of those people decades to build what they built. 

Speaker 2 (00:13:27) - Number one: decades. So nobody you can't take away from the fact that even the most successful people in the world have gone through that period of just grind, where people doubt them and don't listen to them, and then they get to the stage where, after years of hard work, they start to get some success. Then one's like, oh, you're really lucky. It's not that right, this is craft. This is years. I didn't see you up at two o'clock in the morning doing the work with me, right, yeah, yeah, yeah, A hundred percent man, I love that rich. 

Speaker 1 (00:13:57) - One other comment that you made that I just want to dive into is: so you're right, there's so many- and me and you have been literally touching a bunch of different customers together on this over the last year- but so many businesses put so much money, time, energy into developing a product, developing a service, developing whatever their will or their where is, and then they get to the point of sale or the point of conversion or the point in which they finally get someone out there in the world to say: 

Speaker 1 (00:14:32) - good luck, pal. And they wonder why maybe retention is an issue, or they wonder why maybe people have low customer, customer satisfaction early on because, or they wonder why their adoption rates suck, or they wonder why usability and engagement ain't that good. And then they wonder why, like, from just a general usability or general business financial perspective, they wonder why they, it's hard to grow the business. 

Speaker 1 (00:14:56) - And I think one of the things that's so cool about what you and your team at Ascendr are doing is like you're helping companies think about that onboarding piece specifically, you work with a lot of SaaS companies, I know that, but Rich, onboarding is for everything. 

Speaker 1 (00:15:07) - Onboarding is not just SaaS, onboarding is theoretically, think about like you join a gym, somebody better be spending 10 or 15 minutes talking about or onboarding expectations about the gym, expectations about the hours, expectations about the monthly fees, expectations about, and this is where like onboarding done extremely well, expectations about, "Oh, hey, Rich, you want to come to some of our extra classes that cost more?" But you could literally be setting expectations for upsell and cross-sell from day one. right? 

Speaker 1 (00:15:35) - And then the last thing is just, and you and I spend a ton of time thinking about this and talking about this together, but like also just the knowledge, man. 

Speaker 1 (00:15:42) - I think that, I think, I know we talk about this a lot on the show, but like there's companies that are frankly crushing it, so this is probably why they don't really care because financially they're crushing it, but like they do a shitty job of socializing knowledge, socializing customer knowledge, socializing knowledge about the product and service, and I just think that some of the stuff that you guys are doing at Ascendr, you're helping to really kind of figure some of that world out, sort some of those pieces. 

Speaker 1 (00:16:08) - You and I both know from all the businesses that we've been a part of leading, like it's way, everything is easier said than done, like just like everything else in life, but I think it's awesome what you guys are doing. Rich, I'd love to dive into the second pillar of tools. You spent a couple of minutes kind of talking about, number one, I'd love to hear if you're able to share, what are some of the tools that you and your team at Ascendr have really had to rely upon and leverage in your early tech stack? So that's one part of the question. 

Speaker 1 (00:16:33) - And then I'd love for you to spend maybe a minute or two talking about how some of the things that you've seen with your Ascendr clients for how you've been able to kind of leverage Ascendr to connect with some of these other tools to be able to really start to take things to the next level with CTA management or project management or roadmap tracking. Spend a couple of minutes just talking about technology tools, Rich. 

Speaker 2 (00:16:56) - So our tech stack operationally, I'm not talking about kind of what the backend is made of, but from an operational point of view, it's very similar to what our ICP would be. So our ICP is like kind of 200 person organization. So we've got HubSpot that kind of manages the outbound emails and CRM, deal management, that kind of stuff. We've got WordPress for the website, right? And that has a plugin for HubSpot. Arguably, it should be all on HubSpot. 

Speaker 2 (00:17:31) - But again, as you're kind of going through and building out the company, you kind of just do what needs to be done right now and we'll come back and refactor some of these things. 

Speaker 1 (00:17:37) - Absolutely. 

Speaker 2 (00:17:39) - Yeah, we've also got LinkedIn for outreach, Sales Navigator, Apollo for outreach. But I use those kinds of tools sparingly. It's more of a, what's the word? It's more like a research facility for me, because again, I've done some exploratory things with regards to Apollo and the use of artificial intelligence through these things. And personally, I'd like to think that I can spot AI in messages from the word go. As soon as a message comes in, you're like within the first sentence. Yeah, there's no way that you have phrased it in that particular way. 

Speaker 2 (00:18:24) - That's a very particular, peculiar thing that you're commenting on your first outreach to me. So I haven't really gone down that automated approach just yet, because I don't think AI is there. People buy from people and people like stories and people like to have a connection. As soon as you think there's, I'm trying to, I'm conversing with a computer, you lose that connection instantly, right? 100%. So, yeah, we've got a very kind of kind of...

Speaker 2 (00:18:58) - cut down tech stack, we don't have a huge need at the moment. The other thing is we use Freshdesk, Freshdesk is good, Zendesk as well is pretty good. But I think it's important to have things that connect well to each other, that talk well because isolated systems is never a good thing. You've got information dispersed amongst different systems and then you can't report on it, you can't get the right information. 

Speaker 2 (00:19:21) - And one of the things that we're doing with Ascendr, one of the fundamental principles is about transparency of information and centralization. So we are doing, just about to do our HubSpot integration because I've got HubSpot for those who are using it to remain that central source of truth. But there is a lot of power between having Ascendr and HubSpot integrated. 

Speaker 2 (00:19:46) - And where we are replacing the need for having a generic task management tool and a spreadsheet and your emails and, and, and, at least we can start to consolidate all of that into one central place. Yeah, so it's quite lean from a tech stack perspective, at least right now. And perhaps as the company grows, that that might need to start to increase as well. If you don't mind, I'm gonna go back to some of the point you made before as well, like on the onboarding piece. You know, for me, onboarding is the only chance you get a second first impression. 

Speaker 1 (00:20:27) - Yep, yep. 

Speaker 2 (00:20:29) - And the first impression from a company's perspective, it's like when you talk to the salesperson, if we kind of keep to the gym analogy, that's quite a good one actually. First time you go into the gym and you have a look around and you speak to the salesperson, you've got a certain impression of what the gym's like. Then when you sign up, if people just drop you, they're just like, there's your key code, off you go. I mean, that's not good, is it? 

Speaker 2 (00:20:52) - Whereas if someone takes the time to understand, like not just like show you around the gym, but what are your goals? 

Speaker 1 (00:20:59) - What are you here for? 

Speaker 2 (00:21:00) - Are you here for cardio? You wanna bulk up, you wanna slim down? Are you here for the social side? And so it's not just, onboarding isn't just, here's every single weights machine and here's every classroom or gym room in the facility. It's like, what specifically do you wanna achieve out of this? And the same thing goes from a software perspective. Customer doesn't want to know about every single bit of feature and functionality. They're trying to solve a business goal. 

Speaker 2 (00:21:33) - And if you can help them to achieve that goal, you're gonna retain their custom, right? Even again, going back to a gym, if everybody didn't have the pain of not looking or not feeling a particular way, right? If everyone just felt perfect in themselves, gyms wouldn't exist because the people wouldn't pay their money to go there. They're not just gonna go there for the sake of it and pay their money. So the same thing applies to software. People don't buy your software or your service or your solution because they love it. 

Speaker 2 (00:22:07) - The only reason they do is because they have to solve a problem. And so you have to understand the onboarding point. What are the goals? What are you trying to solve with this? And if you remain completely focused on that, and that will change through and through as the customer remains with you because you'll solve one problem and then you can identify other problems and solve for them. So it's just, that's how you kind of retain and grow those accounts. So I quite like the gym analogy you brought up there. 

Speaker 1 (00:22:37) - Well, what's funny is I like what you just said, which is like, number one, goals or account success planning is paramount for a variety of reasons. Number one, it's just that expectation setting from the get-go. Number two, I'm not trying to sound like Jordan Belfort style here, but it's establishing control and it's establishing expertise in a this is why we are the right partner. This is why you're paying. This is the value that we're gonna provide. 

Speaker 1 (00:23:05) - The second part is this though, is like in that success planning or in that goal setting, and me and you do this with some of the work that we've been doing with CXC and Ascendr with some of our clients right now, like it's really, really hard when you are in the daily fire and the daily battle and the daily rigmarole as a leader, as a customer focused business leader, to sometimes just be able to pull off and not be so deep into the weeds that you're almost, your vision's almost blurred. Your vision's almost clouded. 

Speaker 1 (00:23:34) - You're dealing with all the different noise and the signals and all the bicker and you're dealing with all these competing goals and competing efforts. And oftentimes, it's like having an outside partner that can actually, number one, you understand the goals that you have. Number two, you start to break down what you are or you aren't doing to achieve set goals. Let's keep going with the gym because it is a good one. Look, you came in here for cardio. You haven't touched a treadmill in 30 days. What's up, big boy? That's one thought. 

Speaker 1 (00:23:58) - Number three, you came in to bulk up. I haven't seen you on a bench press and I haven't seen you throwing any weights around the room at all in a month. So going back to our onboarding, our customer onboarding stuff, the minute you can get a good understanding of the goals, then you start to just track and maintain and provide additional support to the activities that will achieve those goals. Now, the minute that you start to kind of find that groove around where...

Speaker 1 (00:24:22) - There's a relationship, there's trust, right? There's gotta, you gotta have trust. And this is hard, this is why onboarding again is so key. So many customers get all the way to the, they get all the way to the point of onboarding and then it's just like a letdown, right? 

Speaker 3 (00:24:38) - It's just almost like a letdown. 

Speaker 1 (00:24:38) - And then, and then the last part is this, and me and you have done this, we've been talking about this stuff for, it feels like years, but like, onboarding is also like the last, it's funny, CROs completely, they get pissed off when I say this. Onboarding is not supposed to be the last point of qualification. That shit's supposed to be done way up the funnel, man. But I'm sorry, that's you all damn day, forget about it. 

Speaker 1 (00:25:01) - And what we see all the time, because we work with all these different operative and all these different CXCS and support leaders, onboarding is almost treated, sorry, not all the time, but half and half, it's almost like half the time, it's like, okay, now let's fully qualify them. It's like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you talking about? That ain't the point for this. And then, and then the other thing is you miss the opportunity to, I know it's generic, but like, ignite the magic. 

Speaker 1 (00:25:22) - Like in onboarding, awesome onboarding, every one of us has gone through an experience where we've had a dope onboarding experience, where it's just like, number one, you are, there is a milestone moment of a passing of the hands. You're going to go from the salesperson that brought you all the way from the point of interest to the point of conversion. So you're passing the baton to whomever your success or your operative or your support team are. So that in and of itself is a milestone moment. Then there's the new relationship being built. 

Speaker 1 (00:25:46) - And by the way, SaaS companies are terrible at this. I hate to say it. Even the biggest ones in the world, like I, I won't name names, but like, even with some of the world's leading technology that we work with every day and touch every day, dude, I've had double digits of reps in the four years that I've been building CX Chronicles. That's pretty wild. I know that they're big. I know people get different roles and they move around an organization, they move on. I totally understand, but come on, that's crazy. 

Speaker 1 (00:26:11) - But like, my point is, is like the ownership, account ownership is a critical part of onboarding or being able to set the expectation for what that even looks like in your customer or in portfolio space. Meaning like, if you already know that you've got reps that are only sitting in onboarding roles for six months because you got to go through onboarding before you can like achieve like an account management role or an account executive role. 

Speaker 2 (00:26:35) - Yeah, or it's customer success. 

Speaker 1 (00:26:36) - Or customer success. Be clear about that. Be clear that it's a landing zone where you do familiarization, you do customer launching. A lot of companies that do a good job with this, they might have like their CX Chronicles University, right? Where in the first seven, 14, 21 days, we're going to dump all this knowledge and information on you and we're going... to do. But that's one of the things, guys, for our listeners, like I know all of you are doing onboarding a little bit differently. Some of you maybe are using tools or technology. 

Speaker 1 (00:27:06) - Some of you probably aren't. And then Rich's comment about not just using another like generic task management solution, but like we talk about it all the time, but you've got to be stitching this stuff together to actually understand what the customer experience looks like and what the customer journey looks like. 

Speaker 2 (00:27:19) - So- I think you have to look at onboarding holistically as well. Like it's not just about the tool, right? Ascendr is a platform. I think we're providing a lot of great value at the moment, but I don't think it stands alone, right? It is a tool that you can use to facilitate onboarding, but you also need to have a look at making sure your team are trained up, that they're the right people, they're approachable, their ability to craft relationships is fantastic. 

Speaker 2 (00:27:47) - But then also you need to have a look at other technology things as well, like in-app walkthroughs, the use of online universities. And when it comes to education and training, people learn in different ways. Some people are keen aesthetic learners. They want to kind of get their hands on. Some people are more audio. You want to consider other ways to, on how to deliver the training. So it's a combination of everything. And we are on piece in the puzzle. 

Speaker 2 (00:28:14) - And I'd like to think that as we expand as an organization, we can help people along that process as well. Yeah, you've got to think about things from the customer's perspective, right? If you're just looking at this from your perspective, then you're going to make it difficult for yourself. And one of the things, the reasons I think this is a very important part of the customer life cycle is you get this right and retention and growth becomes incredibly easy in comparison. 

Speaker 2 (00:28:46) - If you get it wrong, if you don't get the customer hooked in the first 60, 90 days, you're just chasing your tail. Until the renewal, you might be able to bundle that renewal through for one more year, but you're not really doing that now. 

Speaker 1 (00:29:00) - It's probably going to be discounted renewal. You're not, if they're not seeing that value and they're not seeing that utilization and that utility, renewal's going to be harder for sure. 

Speaker 2 (00:29:08) - I think investing in good onboarding is a bit of an insurance policy against churn. 

Speaker 3 (00:29:16) - onboarding 

Speaker 2 (00:29:17) - Yeah. And think about the investors, the board, C-suite, they want their numbers to continue to go up. And if you've spent all of this time, resources, energy in getting a new account and the amount of effort that it takes to get a new account, why would you risk it? So invest in the onboarding, make sure that it works and make sure you retain the account because it's not just the year one value you're getting, especially in SaaS, right? If you can keep that customer for five years, it's worth it. You need to justify your seat at the table. 

Speaker 2 (00:29:48) - And the other point I would make about onboarding is I don't think people in onboarding and customer success realize that they are kind of in sales, right? Even though if you're not dealing with the commercial aspect to it, you're constantly selling the value, especially in cases where the person who has purchased the product, the economic buyer, the decision maker from the customer might not be the person who's using your product, platform, service. 

Speaker 2 (00:30:18) - So you've got to be in a position where you can effectively articulate the value to the customers at any point. So onboarding is kind of everything all pieced into one. 

Speaker 1 (00:30:30) - Totally agree, man. You know, I say this all the time and I'm going to keep saying it, but like a customer experience done well is modern selling. If you think about the entire customer journey and then Rich, in your world, in the center's world, you guys are just maniacally focused on onboarding. But like if you're taking the time to lay all the variables out, you're taking the time to create lines in the sand, you're taking the time to understand exactly where ownership lies, exactly where accountability lies, exactly where responsibility lies. 

Speaker 1 (00:31:00) - And then more importantly, for some of our CX nerds out there, you start to apply the math to those things or you understand exactly which metrics, exactly which KPIs, exactly which counselor measures are affixed to each one of those different units. Now you're ready to start cooking with gas and now you're ready to start making things home. So I love it. Rich, I want to dive into the third pillar of process. 

Speaker 1 (00:31:23) - Spend just like a minute or two talking about, as you've been building a center, and I know you worked at all these incredible companies before building a center, but like, how do you kind of thought about wrangling the living playbooks or the tribal knowledge, whether that's team or customer base? 

Speaker 1 (00:31:38) - But just spend like a minute or two talking about kind of how you've sort of wrangled process throughout your career, and then maybe spend a minute talking about how a center can actually help others wrangle process and wrangle some of the things that they're dealing with both their teams and their customers on a daily basis. 

Speaker 2 (00:31:53) - I like process, right? And forgive me for pronouncing it in a slightly different way, right? It's okay. 

Speaker 1 (00:32:01) - We'll take it. 

Speaker 2 (00:32:02) - But yeah, I mean, because I've always been in this space where actually when it comes to getting going with a new piece of technology, I need to know what your processes are. And the companies I've worked for and worked with over the years, they're in a growing phase. So they start off with founder led growth and, excuse me. And the founder kind of, they build things as they go, but everything's in their mind. 

Speaker 2 (00:32:36) - When you get to the point where you're trying to scale the organization, you're trying to scale the operations, you need to know what your standard operating procedures are, right? And it's such a boring term, but I think it's so important that the people who they know what they want the customer experience to be, they map out what this process is. And when this happens, this is how we deal with it. 

Speaker 2 (00:33:02) - And that is for all areas of the business, whether it be your customer is showing signs of churn or the customers, there are some indications that the customer might be ready for some upsell, be that through usage metrics or things you're picking up in quarterly business reviews. You need to know with fairly clearly defined lines, who's picking up tab and what are they going to do with it? And 

Speaker 2 (00:33:31) - Processes will always evolve, right? So I think it's important that as the business evolves and changes and as customer requirements and expectations change, you've got a way of kind of articulating that and spreading the word amongst the team because communication is the biggest thing when it comes to process change. So yeah, I mean, things like Notion are pretty good for having a central repository for all of these things. 

Speaker 2 (00:34:01) - I'm having a conversation with somebody at the moment who's got an interesting hypothesis that essentially all of the information in the organization is spread between Notion, GitHub, Slack conversation, all of these things. And even when things change, right? If a company doesn't have the ability to rapidly deploy those changes to the operating procedures, so they're actually investigating whether they can write something like AI that runs over the top of everything and then pulls through the latest and greatest of those versions. 

Speaker 2 (00:34:35) - So yeah, I think it's just, you'll be surprised if you were to take a company that's even a hundred person organization, maybe even less, and you say to the CEO, hey, what's the process for this? And then you ask the same question for the head of customer success and a customer success manager. You'll be so surprised at the variances in the answer for exactly the same thing, right? 

Speaker 2 (00:35:05) - And so I like doing kind of process mapping, essentially kind of getting everyone in a room and going actually what happens when X, Y, Z, if you get a new customer on board or if a customer has got a change in decision maker within their organization and actually getting heads together in a room and going, right, tell me what happens and we're gonna thrash this out between us and creating the flow diagrams and things. 

Speaker 2 (00:35:33) - And I think those things are, it's an exercise worth while doing, even if it's just like once a year, just to kind of reconvene and bring things back into make sure that everybody's on the same page. From our perspective, I think when it comes to delivery, there should be consistency in that delivery. It shouldn't matter if we get a new customer, it shouldn't matter if it's me or you, Adrian, or somebody in Australia, it shouldn't matter who's delivering on that. 

Speaker 2 (00:36:07) - If we've got a standard procedure that we're following from an onboarding perspective, whether that's onboarding new clients or suppliers or even down to kind of employee onboarding, everyone should have the same expectations. So let's build out some templates as to what our standard operating procedures are. 

Speaker 2 (00:36:27) - So yeah, consistency, and that consistency is high quality for one, but also as you're making changes in the organisation because you identified that particular risks happen at the 60 day mark of a customer coming on board, for example, you can easily go back to your templates and your procedures to make sure that you're changing the process going forward. Making sure that you're always improving. 

Speaker 1 (00:36:54) - I couldn't agree more. And I think the part that you just talked about, controlling and monitoring or doing monthly, quarterly, minimally annual checks, that's paramount, man, because stuff does change so, so quickly in every single solitary business. I wanna go back to something you said, that the hypothesis about Notion, Slack, and what was it, GitHub? 

Speaker 2 (00:37:16) - Yes. 

Speaker 1 (00:37:16) - That's, dude, so I've been saying this now for a few years, and you can go back and listen to some of these episodes, but Slack to me, I love it and I hate it. And I love it because it is easy and we all did get hooked and it certainly has allowed all of us to work in this new hybrid type of fashion where you can drop a note, drop an item, drop a thing, somebody gets to it when they get to it. 

Speaker 1 (00:37:42) - And it's the same thing as email technically, but we like it, right, everyone likes their Slack, but the one problem that I have with it, over the last four years, we've worked with countless companies now that use Slack as essentially an issue resolution management system, a partial CRM, their internal telephonic system, and I say it that way because you still do internal huddles that go unmarked or unchecked or unchronicled. 

Speaker 1 (00:38:13) - And then you still have, and then outbound, a lot of people talk to customers via Slack now, so that's a whole other can of worms. And then lastly, the tribal knowledge piece, every one of these businesses that we've worked with and every one of the businesses you and I were practitioners at, they'll set up 20, 50, 100 channels that 

Speaker 1 (00:38:32) - but nobody spends the time on a weekly or a monthly basis to audit them, synthesize. And I don't mean this in a Big Brother way, by the way. I mean, just for an advantage perspective of like knowing what's going on in the company. So nobody audits, nobody synthesizes, nobody pulls out the gold, nobody pulls out the shit. There's nothing happening here. So you have, like in some of these companies, you have hundreds of people just slamming gold into Slack every fricking day. 

Speaker 2 (00:39:01) - I think one of the problems is like, who's going to do that? If that was an exercise that you were gonna run, it needs to be someone pretty senior, pretty high level, pretty knowledgeable in the business. And also those people are pretty valuable. Do you want to really want to put them onto, you know, administrating Slack and making sure that all the information is in the right place? You're not, are you? And so I think that's probably a good use case for AI. I think AI, people are trying to use AI for everything, right? 

Speaker 1 (00:39:34) - I was just gonna say that. Or we have some of the A players and some of the smartest and the brightest spend a little bit of time setting up some simple logic to be able to minimally do an extraction and a basic report out or a basic cliff note or a basic readout of here's all the things that we're seeing. One last thought of this is just like, dude, like for some, like, it's crazy to how, and you know, I talk about this all the time. 

Speaker 1 (00:40:01) - Like, it's a When I started CXChronicles, I thought that the big problem out there in the world is companies are losing $100 billion annually due to poor customer experience. Now that I've worked with, you know, over a hundred different companies and we've gotten the fortune and the pleasure of working with all these incredible companies, I'm realizing that we have a software problem. 

Speaker 1 (00:40:17) - So there is the $100 billion global customer experience problem, but the world also has a software problem where like, we're talking about Slack right now, but the reality is, is that we've gotten to this point where there's so much technology, so much software, so many solutions that it's becoming hard, I think, for the average employee. And I think it's hard, it's becoming really hard for the average practitioner to be able to keep up with all of it, right? 

Speaker 1 (00:40:40) - You might be able to keep up with your HubSpot, your Salesforce, your Zendesk, your Intercom, your Freshworks, if that's your primary tool, because you got to use it every damn day. So you just become familiar. But like, this is why, again, going back to the sender and some of the things that you guys are on a mission for, onboarding, one of the biggest goals should be, how do you find a high level of utilization, utility, and value from the product, from the service, from the willy or where, as fast as possible, right? That's the thing. 

Speaker 1 (00:41:09) - Rich, I want to jump into the fourth and final pillar of feedback. Spend a minute or two talking about kind of how you think about customer feedback or how you've been working with some of your clients at a sender to kind of leverage their customer feedback. 

Speaker 1 (00:41:21) - And then I'd love for you to kind of spend a minute talking about employee feedback at the same time and some of the ways that you go about working with your team at a sender or with your partners at a sender to really kind of be able to pull out some of the gold or pull out some of the ideas or pull out some of the feedback you're getting and bring it right back into what you're building with the sender and what you're building with your product. 

Speaker 2 (00:41:41) - So since we kind of got some customers on since February, right, we've got five companies using the platform and it's amazing the feedback that we get from it. And I laugh because some of it I predicted, some of it I'm like, oh my God, like I didn't think you'd use the platform in that way. And something that's so blindingly obvious to me really isn't obvious to other people, right? So getting other eyes on the platform is absolutely invaluable for one. 

Speaker 2 (00:42:13) - I think it's my approach to feedback is just be open and actively listen to what is being said, right? Whether it's your product or if you are representing a company, it doesn't matter, like you shouldn't be taking these things personally, but just kind of say, if a customer says this isn't working or I don't understand this, like try and understand from their perspective what they're trying to do and why it doesn't sit well with them because everyone thinks differently, right? 

Speaker 2 (00:42:43) - So yeah, always be open to listening to feedback, both positive and negative because negative is an opportunity for growth and change within the product, within the organisation. And I think the same thing applies for employee feedback. And I think it's maybe more important. I like to work with people who are very capable, intelligent, ambitious, want to do well for themselves and want to do well for the company.

Speaker 2 (00:43:20) - as an employer or as a manager, you need to give people responsibility for things, but also empower them to be able to do their job, okay? So if you're at the top and you're commanding everything, you are a bottleneck, right? I think as a manager and as a leader, your job is to facilitate other people's success, and that's how you grow as a leader. And so be open to feedback, right? 

Speaker 2 (00:43:50) - And I think that some people find that more difficult than others, and even when you're open to feedback, sometimes it's not easy to hear, but you've got to want to start continuously improving yourself, and sometimes it's very much just a case of you just need to listen to your team, and they might be telling you something or screaming something at you, but you're just not hearing it, if that makes sense. 

Speaker 1 (00:44:14) - Yeah, it totally does. 

Speaker 2 (00:44:15) - So yeah, regular feedback, open feedback, and I really enjoy kind of working with customers. Like when I'm trying to build out new features and functionality, I've got an idea of how I think I can solve the problem. I've got the added benefit now that because it's my company, I can command where the development goes, right? So I can jump on with customers and I'm going to go, right, well, we've got a problem over here, and here's how I'm thinking we solve the problem. And I like getting that live feedback from them before any code hits the page. 

Speaker 2 (00:44:52) - And even once it's released, we're small enough as an organization now that we can pivot very quickly, but I can jump on a call with every single one of my customers and go, I've got this new feature, let me show you, and here's the thing, this is, you told me about this, and we've incorporated that into it. And I think it's such an important part of growing as a person and as an organization, because the world we live in at the moment just changes so quickly. 

Speaker 2 (00:45:19) - You think about the technological advances that's happened in the last couple of years, if you're not keeping up with it, you're just going to be left behind so quickly. 

Speaker 1 (00:45:28) - Yep, couldn't agree more, man. So number one, I love all those thoughts. And I think that you guys are on an incredible mission. It's something that you and I both know, and we literally have the numbers to prove it, like companies need a ton of help with onboarding. Companies need a ton of help with onboarding. They need a ton of help with not just the training and the education and the support and the adoption, but it's internal, it's external. 

Speaker 1 (00:45:53) - So when I say they need a ton of help with onboarding, not even just on the customer side, they need help with employee onboarding. They need help with, there's so many different ways that you could slice and dice what you guys are working on at Descender and how you could begin to help just countless companies and countless business centers out there in the world. So Rich, I love it. 

Speaker 1 (00:46:10) - Before I let you go, my friend, is there two things, any last things you want to call out to the CX nation or anything coming up, any upcoming events, anything you want people to know about? And then number two, where can people find more about you, sir, at Descender? Where can people get in touch with you? 

Speaker 2 (00:46:28) - So We've got some cool events coming up that we're attending. SaaStr in London, and that's on 4th and 5th of June. And SaaStock in Dublin, and that is in October. I would love to get out to SaaStock in San Francisco in September as well. I've just got to make sure I can run that past the wife and make sure that we've got childcare available. But yeah, that'd be amazing to get out there. Love to get back out to the States again. And there was another point that you mentioned. Oh yeah, contacting me. 

Speaker 1 (00:47:03) - Contact, the most important brother. 

Speaker 2 (00:47:05) - Yeah, so our website is ascendr. And I'm always open to conversations. Like I love talking to people. And I suppose at the moment I'm in a position where I'm trying to find people who I can help. And the initial parts of the conversation isn't, there's no charge for it. It's just like, here's some suggestions. And if you want to continue working with me, I'd love that. Let's build a relationship. Let's make sure that we're on the same path and I can help you down your path. And we'll see where things go. 

Speaker 1 (00:47:40) - I love it. And guys, I can attest, CXC has been partnered with Ascendr now for the better part of a year. And the things that Rich and his team are doing are incredible, super helpful. There is almost a codification of people and technology and the process that they do a phenomenal job of beginning to stitch or aggregate together in every one of our listeners. I already know you need help with that. You're lying if you don't. Or you're only using one tool and it's very easy to manage again. But Richard Conroy, this has been an absolute pleasure, man. 

Speaker 1 (00:48:12) - I'm so pumped to see where you and Ascendr go in the future. And I'm pumped to continue building our strategic partnership and friendship. And a huge thanks, brother, for coming on the CX Chronicles podcast and sharing your story with all of us. 

Speaker 2 (00:48:23) - I appreciate it. Thanks, Adrian. 

Speaker 3 (00:48:26) - Cheers.